January 2018 Park of the Month: Chapel Street Fountain Park
Nestled just one block from Meeting Street, Chapel Street Fountain Park seems a world away from downtown’s hustle and bustle. This makes Chapel Street an ideal spot to take a breather on a park bench and enjoy the beauty and seclusion of its iron fountain and lush gardens.
Live oaks and crepe myrtles line the sidewalks, and underneath these you’ll find an underplanting of mixed perennials. In addition to a grassy area for picnics, the park contains a bevy of plants all year around. These include Farfugium (tractor seat plant), Justicia brandegeana (shrimp plant), Hydrangeas, Camellias, Dwarf Yaupon hedge, and Malvaviscus (Turk’s cap or sleeping hibiscus).
Although we are in the coldest season of the year, plants like the the Farfugium and Justicia are currently in bloom. The Farfugium, known to some as “Ligularia,” or more commonly as the “tractor seat plant,” can be found around the sign at the front of the park. The Malvaviscus are still in bloom as well, though only for a few weeks, so visit Chapel Street right away to see them soon. The park also features a nice display of caladiums in the summer and fall.
In 2008 the park underwent a major change when a large tree was damaged in a storm and had to be removed. This opened up the canopy, changing some of the bedspace from shady to sunny.
The center planting beds feature a combination of native shrubs, perennials and seasonal color for a year round floral display. “The seasonal bed enhances the experience but is not the star of the show,” says Charleston Parks Conservancy horticulturist, Patrick Dollason. “The reason people visit Chapel Street is for the ambience created by the fountain, the shade trees, and its feeling of seclusion.”
The park is used quite often for lunch breaks, dog walks and sunbathing by the fountain. It provides a favorite photo opportunity for visitors and residents alike. It’s a quaint neighborhood park in the heart of the Mazyck-Wraggborough neighborhood, full of life and tranquility all year round.